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Old 06-21-2013, 09:07 PM   #1
Nike_Soccer
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Default 2002 WRX Bubbling/Overflowing Reservior

The other day home from work my scooby ran a bit hot. It didn't leave the normal operating temperature range, just moved up to the high part of the gauge (not in the red.) Seeing as how I was only a mile or two from home, I flipped the heater on (blowing heat out quite nicely too)and babied her home w/ no issues. I added a little bit of 50/50 to the rad res, which was just under the LOW filler line on the res. Took it around the block violently, and the needle didn't budge. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!....or so I thought.

The following day after the commute, I popped the hood out of curiosity and to assure myself, seeing as how the needle hadn't even budged all day. To my surprise when I got home I noticed my rad. res. was bubbling consistently, and was nearly overflowing! What gives?! Coolant is still translucent green, no oil mixing, and before you scream HEAD GASKET I had it replaced at 112K with my timing belt and water pump at Subaru of Plano (up to 141K currently.) No OBDII codes are being thrown, MPG has not changed, engine idles strong and has pep off the line. Car is bone stock except for a simple cat-back system. I since have chalked this issue up to being a air bubbles trapped in the system for the time being...

I hopped online and read around, seeing many different procedures all claiming to the be the 'proper' way to burp the air out of your system, and still am unsure as to which approach I should take. I ordered a new pressure cap (for turbo/rad filler) because I had seen that could be a potential issue. $10 for a new 16/psi cap and a walk through I'm hoping will do the trick. I am just unsure as to how to do the procedure properly.


For example, which is better, flat land, or an incline? My drive way is rather steep so if an incline is preferred, it won't be an issue. I've seen people vouching for both.

To engage the heater core, or not to? Ect...

Also, some people say to squeeze the radiator hoses to encourage the air flow, others say this is unnecessary.

What I can be sure of from reading online is that the process may take some time, and that there will always be SOME amount of air present in the system.

If anyone has done a burping maneuver on their scooby and would please give me some guidance I would really appreciate it. I dont want to negate the issue and end up throwing a gasket prematurely or warping a head or something. I have a road trip (500+ miles) I will be taking in approximately one month so if I can not relegate the issue myself I may be forced into paying to have it done, which is my least favorite solution.

So, if you're still here reading this, I implore you, Subaru Gurus of NASIOC, can you help a Bugeye out?! I want to do this correctly and know how for future reference.

Worst Case Scenario: I take it back to a Sub dealer and pay out the @$$ to have it professionally straightened out.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:15 PM   #2
xSUNSHINEx
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I have an 05 sti..but all I had to do was leave the radiator cap on...fill the upper resevoir until it was full..put the cap back on the top..then took the cap off of the radiator and filled until full..then filled the resevoir. I then put the cap back on the radiator and took the cap back off of the resevoir. I cranked up the car and had a buddy massage the upper radiator hose. Bubbles noticeably were coming out. Just repeated until it no longer bubbled. That being said..I dont know if bugeyes have the upper radiator resevoir.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:19 PM   #3
Nike_Soccer
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Thanks for the speedy reply. The 02 wrx has the rad. res. behind the driver side head light, and then just a fill port on top of the passenger side header, slightly above and ahead of the turbo.

The older ones don't have a port to directly fill the rad, nor do they have an 'air bleeder.' I think by '05 they had straightened it out, because from what I'm reading these problems concerning air bubbles in the cooling system are prevalent. Bought a spill free funnel, ill see if this can take care of it.

Last edited by Nike_Soccer; 06-21-2013 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:27 AM   #4
art@grimmspeed
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Burping it would be a good first start, but the bubbling in the overflow is generally a dead giveaway to a bad HG. I would have it checked out.
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:12 PM   #5
Masta Splint
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Usually bubbles indicate that theres air in your system and you need to burp it. Why there would be air your system from just adding coolant is another question to ask your self. I know the rad caps are notorious for going bad so thats prob ur issues unless you see coolant leaking out of somewhere. If the cap and burpping doesnt fix your issue check over your rad for leaking or poss a bad rad or maybe even a stuck thermostat. All 3 things are notorious for going bad on these cars. Hopefully you just need a new cap and a burp. Good luck and let us know what fixed it.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:50 PM   #6
i_c_the_light
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So why were the gaskets replaced when the belt and pump was done? Had they failed?
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Old 06-23-2013, 01:55 PM   #7
Nike_Soccer
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Thank you all for the replies!

My local Auto Zone and Orielys did not have the spill proof funnel, so I Amazon'd it to be here Mon/Tues. Ive been keeping an eye on the fluid levels, and I'm not losing coolant or spraying it anywhere in the hood or under the car. The fluid levels return to their positions after they fully cool (overnight.) I'm at the fill F line on the rad res marker, and my top mounted turbo/manifold filler is consistently about 1/2" below the overflow bottle neck.

I've been taking her easy and shifting before 3500 rpm until I sufficiently burp it, as to not encourage any heat damage. I drive about 40 miles per day for my total commute, plus whatever short stops and errands need to be ran for the day. Every time I park I check the rad res level and its quite high. On top of that I can hear the radiator to filler hose gurgling like mad.

To address some points brought to light:

I think air got into the cooling system when it ran a bit low in the rad res when it tried to pull some in with nothing there.

Bubbles are every 3 to 4 seconds, dime and penny size, or like a small candy, not continuous carbonation or champagne consistency.

And yes at 112k my initial set of HGs failed, and both sides were replaced. Some of the symptoms I currently have mimic what I had witnessed when the HG went which is what i first thought was wrong, but I thought surely not AGAIN after only 30k?! Maybe I'm in denial, but I just want to be sure everything is checked before I come to that repair bill again. They also replaced many of the hoses, seals etc, ran $3500+ after everything. I know another overhaul wouldnt be that extensive but for that price I coulda' dropped a new motor in there!
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Old 06-23-2013, 04:23 PM   #8
point78
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Your gonna love the spill free funnel.

I just got one-thought I had burped my car pretty well, put on the spill free and watched a bunch more air come out.

Wait until you try burping it with the new funnel, & put a new cap on, before you worry about the head gasket.

(I have had my head gasket go on a different car, leak down & compression tests both looked fine, and the coolant level would go back down when cool)
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:52 AM   #9
Nike_Soccer
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I sure hope that funnel works as well as you say it does. I'm becoming more and more uneasy as the days pass and I have to worry about the heat gauge jumping up. Stupid Amazon sent me just the cap, haha. I paid for rush on both, and to be bundled together! So still waiting on my spill-free cone!
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:15 AM   #10
art@grimmspeed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nike_Soccer View Post
I sure hope that funnel works as well as you say it does. I'm becoming more and more uneasy as the days pass and I have to worry about the heat gauge jumping up. Stupid Amazon sent me just the cap, haha. I paid for rush on both, and to be bundled together! So still waiting on my spill-free cone!
Just take it easy on the car until you get this sorted out. If you get it too hot or get it hot too many times it will warp the heads and then you will be looking at more than just HG's. I hope it is just air in the system.
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Old 06-24-2013, 05:47 PM   #11
i_c_the_light
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You can make one by cutting a coke bottle in 1/2 and a couple of bit of rubber hose.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:08 PM   #12
Nike_Soccer
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Funnel came in today while i was at work, i'm gonna let her cool an get cracking tonight! Also i stopped by my auto part store and got a new turbo rad filler hose, since it was bubbling hard the other day. Im not sure if the hose is running flat or collapsing, but why not replace it for $1. Unfortunately they didnt have any clamps on hand, so i may try to reconfigure mine with some pliers and make them tighter.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:43 PM   #13
Nike_Soccer
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siiiiiiigh.....problems persisting. biting the bullet and taking it in next week on my first available day off since their shop is closed sundays.

hopefully these next 7 days i can make it without it leaving standard op. temp.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:53 PM   #14
fistv
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My first guess would be water pump, the vanes, not circulating the coolant as well, common problem on 4.0 and 2.5 jeeps especially in my area of hard acidic well water being used to make up your 50/50 mix of coolant/water instead of using distilled water. Usually if the cap is bad it will not build pressure, coolant pumps out to the over flow and then may not get sucked back in as it cools down and you end up with more air.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:08 PM   #15
fastnoypi
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have you had your coolant tested for exhaust gasses?
You can get block tester fluid at most auto stores, $8 at autozone. They even have the tester itself available for loan.
This should help checking a possible HG failure.

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Old 06-26-2013, 11:49 PM   #16
KzooBaja
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Not trying to jack your thread, but I am having the exact same issue!....I drained radiator to replace my turbo,.... & turbo coolant tank cap I replaced ( it leaked a little as the gasket had a tear)..... After that, I have a steady stream of bubbles blowing into the coolant overflow tank... I keep topping off the coolant but it seems it is boiling the water out of the coolant, after to and from work about 10 miles each way, I have to add 3-4 cups of distilled water to the radiator.... I have no leaks what so ever!..... Nor is it all steaming out!.... I thought I got a bad cap so I bought another one elsewhere and got the same results ( the 1st one was only a 16lb cap, the 2nd one was a 20lb just like the factory one)..... The timing belt and all components & water pump were replaced less than 2yr ago and less than 12k miles ago, (previous owner didn't drive much!)..... Fearing I had a blown head gasket and reading this thread, I ran out to O'relilly auto parts & bought that block tester..... Checked the coolant tank twice over a 3 hour span, as that is where all the bubbles were going..... NOTHING!..... Fluid stayed Blue..... I took it to the tailpipe just to test how well it worked, squeezed the bulb one time and fluid turned yellow just like it should!..... So, that works!...... So, no compression gasses in my coolant!..... I was thinking water pump or thermostat.... But it is not overheating!!!!... If it is still really warm, but cool enough to remove the rad cap, and I top it off with water and start it, it blows coolant all over!....

I see dozens of people on here say to "burp" the system, but no one really states the exact procedure for it!????
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Old 06-27-2013, 02:13 AM   #17
dead_eye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastnoypi View Post
have you had your coolant tested for exhaust gasses?
You can get block tester fluid at most auto stores, $8 at autozone. They even have the tester itself available for loan.
This should help checking a possible HG failure.
Dude, thats awesome. I had no idea there was a simple test tool for HG failure!
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:28 AM   #18
KzooBaja
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Yea, takes a whole two minutes!... Anyone have the exact procedure for burping the cooling system?... I notice there are no bleed screws, that I can find anyways....
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:21 AM   #19
point78
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I have a 2008 wrx.

The radiator has a cap, and there is another small tank, sitting on the top of the engine, with another "radiator" cap.

Take both caps off. Grab my "no spill" funnel & jam it in the radiator opening. I don't need a adapter on the funnel to fit-it's the correct size to just stick in the hole.

Fill up radiator with fluid until the funnel starts filling up with fluid. Stick the plastic stopper in the funnel to plug the hole.

Remove funnel, and stick it in the top tank. Remove stopper, and start filling form the top tank now. (make sure you replace radiator cap, on the radiator)

Keep filling until the funnel is about 1/2 full.

Start car.

With the engine running at idle, keep gently squeezing the top radiator hose. You will see air coming out of the system-lots of tiny bubbles, every now and then bigger ones.

Keep adding fluid as the level goes down in the funnel.

Its going to take a bit, but when the fluid warms up to about 174, the thermostat is going to open, and the fluid level is going to drop a bit. Keep adding fluid so the funnel is 1/2 full.

After you don't see any more bubbles, place stopper in funnel and remove.

Replace radiator cap on top tank.

Fill your "overflow" tank to the full hot mark, or a inch or two below the top if you don't have a mark.

Drive car down the road and back.

Shut off car, and let cool down.

Open the top tank, its not going to be full, add more fluid-replace cap.

that should do it...
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:37 AM   #20
Nike_Soccer
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i bought a hydrocarbon test kit the other day as well, i havent used it yet, i was hoping to achieve my results just by burping. when i run the test i will post the status.

also, i still am heading to the dealer, they called back and said they had an opening early monday morn so i will take it in then. im hoping they are willing to work with me some, if indeed it is the HG, seeing as how they just replaced it, not even 30K ago!

if its just a water pump or something else relativley simple, that would be music to my ears!
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:40 PM   #21
KzooBaja
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Nike,.... Just use the kit,... Takes no time and you'll know for yourself!.... If its a negative, then the dealer won't be able to rip you off!
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Old 06-27-2013, 05:26 PM   #22
bayerisheteknik
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maybe you have a crack in the heads itself...when they replaced the HG did they check it for warp/cracks,pressure test it?

don't know much about subarus but maybe you have air bubble trapped in the system...

hopefully its something simple , good luck
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:58 PM   #23
KzooBaja
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I'm getting a spill proof funnel tomorrow..... Going to burp the coolant a few times and give that a shot!
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:28 PM   #24
Nike_Soccer
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Good luck, hopefully youre able to cure your woes with the funnel!
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:53 PM   #25
KzooBaja
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I bought the $40 funnel.... Waited about an hour after driving,.... Pulled both caps,..... Topped off the radiator,... Capped it,... Topped off the turbo tank,... Put the funnel adapter, cap & funnel on,.... Filled funnel about 1/3 full,... Took out enough coolant from overflow bottle to leave it at full line........& Started Subaru!....

At first I got a lot of bubbles,..... Then one large bubble every 5 seconds or so,... After 2-3 minutes.... No more bubbles,.... I revved it a few times and held rpms around 3k for 2 minutes or so,..... Fans kicked on,.... No bubbles,.... Milked the upper hose a few times,.... No more bubbles!.....

Turned car off, and put another 1/3 coolant in the funnel,.... Waited for it to cool,... It took almost all of it as it cooled,...... Removed funnel,... Capped & test drove 5 minutes,..... Poped hood & overflow bottle,.... Was bubbling constantly in it!... Looked like a kid blowing bubbles in his green coolaid!...... :-(

Makes no since!.... Does not overheat or run hot untill it boils a lot of water from the coolant,.... A few days of driving!
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